Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Journalists in Gaza under siege

Ma'an reports:
Gaza – Ma'an – Journalists, correspondents and other employees at Arab and international news agencies and satellite TV stations are currently under siege in a tower building which hosts the offices of several press agencies.

Satellite TV stations are transmitting live images from the spot, and the sounds of gunshots and explosions can be clearly heard inside and outside the besieged building. Fear is apparent on the faces of the journalists at the Shawwa, Husary and Juwhara tower in central Gaza City.

Cross fire continues between rival gunmen who occupied the roof of the building, and others, who are currently shooting at the building where the journalists are besieged.

Wael Dahdouh, a reporter for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV, said that more than 30 journalists are besieged in a small room, "where we are seeking refuge from the shelling and shooting inside our offices."

He added, "Another building with journalists in has been shelled by anti-tank missiles, while gunshots and shrapnel penetrate the walls of the place, every now and then."
The same journalists who have soft pedaled Palestinian Arab violence for years are now the main targets (and three have already been killed.) And now, on live TV, they are pleading for their lives from those who really don't care about human life.

UPDATE: The AP apologist for terror, Ibrahim Barzak, filed a report on how thoroughly screwed up Gaza has become. Too bad he waited until his own life was in danger before he wrote it:

With battles raging outside my building and my windows blown out by bullets, I sit in a dark hallway outside my apartment with my wife and baby. It's dangerous inside and outside.

Today I have seen people shot before my eyes, I heard the screams of terrified women and children in a burning building, and I argued with gunmen who wanted to take over my home.

I have seen a lot in my years as a journalist in Gaza, but this is the worst it's been.

Much of the fighting is taking place right here in my neighborhood. I went outside a few times to report, just around the house. I saw a building on fire after Hamas gunmen attacked, and I heard the screams of people who could not get out because of the gun battles.

My building is across from a Palestinian government complex, and both sides are fighting for control of the area. They're taking over rooftops. My apartment is on the top floor of this five-story building. This morning some Fatah gunmen tried to force their way into my apartment so they could shoot from my windows, overlooking the Palestinian government compound. I had an argument with them, and they left.

There have been clashes between Hamas and Fatah before, but there are dangerous new elements this time. Now they are arresting or even shooting people for the way they look. If you have a beard, you might be arrested by Fatah security for looking Islamic. If you have a chain around your neck or on your arm, Hamas gunmen might shoot you because you look secular.

The random use of weapons and explosives is out of control. People who consider themselves the elite, the politicians, sit with the Egyptian mediators at night and then come out with statements about a truce, and in the morning we see the opposite has occurred. These people are not controlling anything.

I saw several people shot right in front of my home today. I'm preparing myself for even worse violence.